Judge maintains sealing Levy proceedings

WASHINGTON – A D.C. judge has decided the news media will not be allowed to hear evidence presented during a hearing next week related to the decade-old Chandra Levy murder case

In 2010, Ingmar Guandique was convicted of murdering Levy, and he is seeking a new trial.

The hearings have effectively held behind closed doors over the last several weeks – members of the public were not allowed to hear discussions between attorneys and the judge – and could signal a problem with the prosecution including that the credibility of a witness from his original trial is now being questioned.

Superior Court Judge Gerald Fisher ruled Thursday that the media would not suffer “irrevocable harm” because details from the hearings will ultimately be made public.

Fisher also decided that reporters will not be barred from the courtroom for the Feb. 14 status hearing. But all the arguments will be done at the bench where they cannot be heard by spectators.

The judge previously cited “safety issues” to explain why he had sealed prior proceedings. He said Wednesday that information about the proceedings would be available soon but did not provide a date.

Several media organizations have sought to make the hearings and information from the hearings available to the public.

Levy’s death and the search for her remains in Rock Creek Park in 2001 fascinated the public because of her romantic relationship with a congressman.

WTOP’s Hank Silverberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow @hsilverbergwtop and @WTOP on Twitter.

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